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Chelseas £150m attack come to life as Tuchels record-breakers prove themselves Champions League contenders

17-Mar-2021, 05:32 am

Havertz Ziyech Werner Tuchel Chelsea 2020-21

Match statistics: Chelsea 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Kai Havertz to Timo Werner to Hakim Ziyech.

It is the combination many Chelsea fans - and board members - were dreaming of over the summer as the Blues spent in excess of £150 million ($209m) to upgrade their attack.

And though it may have taken the trio until mid-March to combine for a huge, match-winning moment, the beauty of Ziyechs goal against Atletico Madrid was worth the wait.

After NGolo Kante completed a clearance from a corner, it was Havertz who played a delightful clipped pass into Werners path, who in turn drove into space before picking out Ziyech at the far post for a straightforward finish.

Chelsea broke the bank over the summer in a bid to not only challenge at the top of the Premier League table, but also in the Champions League, where their record has been underwhelming in the seasons since their 2012 triumph.

The experience within that side slowly dripped away, and they had only reached the quarter-finals once since, in 2014, before this campaign.

But under Thomas Tuchel, they already look like they could be a force on the continent again, particularly if their big-money signings have finally found their feet.

Tuchel has brought defensive solidity to the Blues, and they have now gone 597 minutes in all competitions without conceding a goal following their 2-0 win over Diego Simeones side at Stamford Bridge.

But they have lacked magic going forward, with the majority of theirattacking players still suffering with a hangover from the final weeks of Frank Lampards tenure.

Perhaps it was fitting, then, that the man once dubbed The Wizard of Amsterdam, Ziyech, was the player to break deadlock in a game where Atletico had caused Chelsea some early problems, most notably through Joao Felix.

The counterattack for the opener showed all the guile, speed and killer instinct that Chelsea have been missing in the final third, and if they are to truly challenge Europes elite, they will need show more of that to go with their defensive prowess.

This was Ziyechs first goal following a 20-game drought, while Havertz has netted just once in his last 25 games and Werner twice in his last 27.

That is not to say that they have not beenplaying well of late, with Havertz seemingly reborn as a false nine and Werner looking far more confident in recent weeks than he did under Lampard.

The former RB Leipzig mans raw statistics for his first season in England- 10 goals and seven assists - do not look too bad, but the narrative around him continues to suggest he has flopped.

Here, though, he was a constant threat, using his pace to get in behind an Atletico back line that is not at the level of the Diego Godin-led quartet of the mid-2010s.

Ziyech, meanwhile, was pulling out all his old street football tricks as the game went on, and Tuchel will hope the Morocco international will be able to maintain this level heading into the final run-in.

This win, which was capped off in injury-time by Emerson Palmieri finishing off another superb counterattack, was perhaps the best of Tuchels time with the club, and will give Roman Abramovich hope that he hired the right man to bring domestic and continental glory back to west London.

Having shown tactical nousin the first-leg win, the German boss yet again out-coached Simeone -the highest-paid manager in the world -in the return game as he became the first Chelsea manager to remain unbeaten through their first 13 matches in charge.

No team will want to face his in-form side when Fridays quarter-final draw is made, and having reached the final last season - albeit in uniquecircumstances - he has experience of navigating a path through the knockout rounds.

While that Paris Saint-Germain team was built through its attack, right now Chelseas foundations are in their defence.


Source : goal.com

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